American Red Cross Celebrates 140 Years

In May, the American Red Cross ( marked 140 years of preventing and alleviating human suffering. It all began on May 21, 1881, when founder Clara Barton established the organization in Washington, D.C. Her leadership laid the groundwork for future generations to transform the Red Cross into a leading relief organization. Today, people continue to come together in innovative ways to serve and give hope during life’s emergencies. This commitment has always been at the heart of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross mission is made possible by the generosity of donors and volunteers, who comprise more than 90% of the organization’s workforce. Volunteers, donors and partners unite from all backgrounds to help everyone in need, whether they’re coping with disasters, medical emergencies or the sacrifices of military life.

Throughout its history, Red Cross volunteers have stepped up to adapt in the face of change—with a shared goal of delivering aid quickly and helping families become more resilient. Did you know:

  • The Red Cross has responded to 3 million U.S. disasters since 1881.
  • The Red Cross supplies nearly 40% of the nation’s blood.
  • The Red Cross has supported service members in every U.S. conflict since the Spanish-American War.
  • In the early 1900s, Red Cross First Aid trains traveled nationwide teaching lifesaving skills.

Visit to learn more.